1. Make volunteers feel included. As soon as volunteers join your organization, introduce them to other volunteers and staff so they get to know everyone. As they feel settled in the organization, ask their opinions or involve them in the decision-making process when possible, so they feel personally invested in the project.
2. Provide volunteers with the right motivation. Volunteers join your organization for different reasons. Some are motivated by the greater cause, while others are interested in making friends or learning new skills. Ask your volunteers what they are looking for, and give them positions or responsibilities that will support their goals.
3. Provide proper training. Make sure your volunteers have the knowledge they need to succeed at their task or position. If volunteers are saddled with tasks beyond their capabilities, they may become frustrated or burn out more quickly. Experienced volunteers can be a great resource for training and support.
4. Offer volunteers flexibility. Many of your volunteers will have full-time jobs in addition to working for your organization. Be mindful of your volunteers’ other time commitments, and do your best to set up a tailored schedule.
5. Share accomplishments and milestones. Volunteers want to know they are making a difference. Keep them updated on progress toward your organization’s goals, and share achievements and success stories. Let them see how their contribution is translating into real results.
6. Reward and recognize volunteers. Give your volunteers personal praise and public thanks so they feel acknowledged for the hard work they are doing. Recognize seasoned volunteers by offering them more important responsibilities, such as leadership positions. And don’t forget— all volunteers appreciate free food and refreshments or a celebratory party now and then!
Not every organization can afford a large workforce, but volunteers of all experience levels can contribute to your success. All they need is a little direction and a lot of appreciation!